New Yorkers are used to dodging all manner of flyers, free CDs, and tabloids that are handed out to us on our commutes. But, Marie Claire's new publication Branché is the one free handout we'll gladly accept instead of striding by, steel-eyed.
Described as a "pop-up magazine," the first issue of Branché hit the streets of New York yesterday. (Branché, by the way, is a French phrase that loosely translates to "clued-in," and is not merely a fancy way to say "branch.") The 40-page publication features 20 pages dedicated to a lovely, original photo shoot with cover girl Alexa Chung, beauty tips, a roundup of Instagram's best food porn, and guides to New York hot spots from eternally cool girls like Chloë Sevigny and Johanna Stout.
If you've done the math, that means that the remaining 20 pages of Branché are — you guessed it! — ads from retailers like H&M, Macy's, and Amazon. Giving half of its pages over to ads means that the magazine didn't cost Marie Claire a cent to produce. But, it will serve as a valuable brand extension to the many New Yorkers who wouldn't necessarily pick up Marie Claire at the newsstand. “We see this as a younger sister of Marie Claire,” Anne Fulenwider, Marie Claire's editor-in-chief, told WWD.
Hearst has hired street teams to hand out the magazine today and Saturday as well as Monday and Tuesday of next week in busy NYC neighborhoods like Times Square, Soho, and Williamsburg. Some of us here at R29 headquarters grabbed a copy at the Fulton Street subway station, where the cadre of smiling, young women passing out the publication were a big change from the usual AM New York peddlers. It's a great read: stylish, with plenty of eye candy — and, hey, it's still got a more favorable ad-to-content ratio than, say, September Vogue.